West Bengal is one of the major states of the country, which has the distinction of publishing large number of newspapers. Almost all important newspapers in the past used to take lead in implementing the Wage Boards recommendations, be it Palekar, Bhachwat or Manisana but it was largely due to strong employees unions. In the last twenty five years the employees’ unions in the newspaper industry in West Bengal have also become weak like in the rest of the country. Although many newspapers have failed to comply with the order of the Supreme Court, yet most of the big newspapers have been found to have implemented the Award, so says the state government’s status report.
On 24th of June 2016 the Labour Commissioner of West Bengal Jawaid Akhtar filed the status report in the Supreme Court, which essentially says that most of the language newspapers have not bothered to implement the Majithia Award. The main defaulters are: Dainik Jagran and Prabhat Khabar of Asansol, Sanmarg and Dainik Vishwamitra of Kolkata.
The major newspaper establishments, which have been found during the inspection to have fully implemented the recommendations are: Anand Bazar Patrika, The Telegraph (ABP Group), The Times of India, The Economic Times, Ei Samay (Bennet Coleman and Company), Vartaman, Press Trust of India, Indian Express and Uttar Banga Sambad. Incidentally, Anand Bazar Patrika and Bennet Coleman and Company were the main newspapers, which took lead in impugning the Working Journalists Act as well as the constitution of the Wage Board in the Supreme Court.
The report says that some of the newspapers have been found to have partially implemented the award and they are: Sambad Pratidin, Aajkal, The Statesman, The Asian Age, Himalaya Darpan, Bharat Darpan, Janpath Samachar and Poorbanchal Bharat Darpan.
It also tells that Industrial Disputes have been raised by the employees or their unions against many newspapers but does not enumerate the steps that it has taken for the implementation of the Award.